Do's and Don'ts for the perfect road trip

DO

  • Get your vehicle inspected for any maintenance issues before you hit the road. This includes, among others, checking your vital fluid level levels, assessing the condition of your air filters, and possibly replacing your windshield wipers.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire in your trunk (and that you know how to change it) — just in case!
  • Schedule an oil change and tire rotation if you’re nearing the mile marker indicator on your odometer, especially if you’re traveling long distance.
  • Pack cell phone chargers, blankets, extra water bottles, a first aid kit, and any other personal medical or emergency supplies you might need in case of an accident or severe weather conditions.
  • Bring a physical map or atlas with you on the road, just in case you lose cell phone service or something goes wrong with your GPS.
  • Take turns driving. If you’re planning to drive through the night to reach your destination, it’s always a good idea to take shifts. Even if you think you’re not getting tired, it helps to know you don’t have to maintain such stamina for the entire trip.
  • Pack light. You’ll save on gas and won’t have to worry about lugging around heavy bags when you reach your destination.
  • Stay entertained. Between classic car games, podcasts, audiobooks, music and old-fashioned conversation, you and your fellow travelers have all you need to truly make the most out of your time spent together in the car.
  • Stop when you need to. If you’re hungry, tired, or need to go to the bathroom, take a pit stop! Being uncomfortable in the car is no fun, can break people’s moods and ultimately, just isn’t worth it. Plus, it’s usually the unexpected stops that make your road trips a little more interesting!
  • Take the scenic route. If you’re not in a hurry to get to your destination, explore a little bit by taking the backroads and enjoying the so-called scenic route. Just make sure someone is always navigating so you can easily get back on course should you accidentally stray.

DON’T

  • Leave during rush hour. Save yourself the headache and unnecessary stress by planning your departure time around the congested traffic hours in your city.
  • Eat too much junk food. Between all the fast food restaurants and truck stops, you’ll encounter more sugar, carbs, and caffeine on the road than you may have seen in months. While it’s okay to indulge a little bit, especially when you encounter unique local foods, try to adopt the philosophy everything in moderation.
  • Overplan. While a strict itinerary is useful at times, road trips allow you a bit more room for exploration. Don’t be hesitant to take spontaneous stops or go check out a landmark a few miles off the route. In the end, you’ll have a great story and probably be glad you took the extra time!
  • Get upset over the things you can’t control. Weather, traffic, aggressive drivers — don’t let these things affect your mood and put a dark cloud over your otherwise enjoyable road trip.
  • Drive over the speed limit. Keep you and your passengers safe in unfamiliar territory by driving the speed limit. Plus, avoiding a ticket will help you stay within budget on your vacation.
  • Be on your cell phone the whole trip. When you’re a passenger in the car, it’s tempting to scroll through your phone while riding along. Instead, take advantage of this time with your friends and/or family. Play games, talk to each other, and when you need some quiet time, read a book or listen to some music.
  • Litter. Keep a waste basket in your car to put trash in — empty it each time you come to a stop so that it doesn’t pile up in your vehicle.
  • Stress over unforeseeable costs. Even if you’ve spent hours budgeting and crunching the numbers for your road trip, there are always extra costs that pop up along the way when you’re on the road. Know this beforehand so that when they do arise, you don’t get worked up about it.
  • Travel with people you don’t enjoy being around. When you’re in a small, enclosed space with someone for hours on end, there’s no escaping their company. Choose your travel companions wisely and do your best to keep things positive!
  • Forget to have fun! You’re on vacation, remember? Sit back, relax, and enjoy the open road.

What are your road trip plans for this summer? Have you ever road-tripped across the country? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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